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  1. Are you kidding? If Harper had attempted to stay, it would almost certainly have lead to a caucus revolt. He'd been leader of the Conservative Party for eleven years and before that leader of the Canadian Alliance for a year and a half. That means he was leader of Canadian conservatives for thirteen years or so. Even if the Tories had won, he would almost have certainly bowed out sometime this term.
  2. The Tories put a Creationist in charge of science funding. If the Liberals are bad, the Tories were no better, and in general, at least the Liberals have committed to stop ignoring and stifling scientists, putting science over ideological or short-term economic goals. We'll see whether they keep their word, but until they give me reason not to believe them, I'll give them a chance. They can't possibly more contemptuous and dismissive of science than the Tories were.
  3. If Harper hadn't cut the GST and other taxes for no other reason than "low taxes!", then Federal revenues would be more diversified. Mindlessly cutting taxes is not sound fiscal policy, it's just a recipe for disaster later on.
  4. You're the one that said the Tories' budget balancing was predicated on the price of oil. Are you denying your own words: "Oh give it a rest. Clearly they planned on having a strong balanced budget and then OPEC screwed them over by dropping the price of gas in half. Absent that, the books would be fine."
  5. No, I consider your interpretations and cherry picking pseudoscience.
  6. Yes, that's modern management theory, and it has its advocates, but it also has its critics. I think Apple is a good example of where you need someone with management abilities, but having some knowledge of the department and/or organization a manager is overseeing is important. I was at a seminar a couple of weeks ago (yes, on the same day as the demographic seminar) that explained how the traditional way in which managers were found; usually through internal promotion, has been disrupted over the last few decades by "professional managers", and that has lead to some loss of in-organization expertise. That all being said, we have to be careful here. We're not talking about CEOs or department heads. Fundamentally, modern government is largely run by the senior levels of the civil service, deputy ministers, assistant deputy ministers and various other department heads. The purpose of a Minister, particularly in a Westminster style parliament, is to be the conduit between Parliament and the "functional executive". You're no more going to get a large number of MPs with MBAs, or even more informal management training, than you will MPs who are scientists, doctors, or any other professions. The point of the Minister is to be the political element of government, so they are not quite managers in the corporate sense of the word.
  7. I think we'll just have to wait and see. He's committed to unleashing his MPs, but obviously there will be limits. I have a feeling backbenchers will have more freedom than they did under Harper or Chretien, but I wouldn't be willing to bet more than $10 that that was so. Whether that's because I'm dubious of how strong that commitment is, or just because I'm cynical is hard to say.
  8. I think there is some merit in making a cabinet 50% women, and he has a large caucus to choose from. And while qualifications are important, you're never likely going to get a lot of qualified people in your caucus, even when you have 184 MPs to choose from. In my perfect world, that's what I'd use the Senate for. Appoint experts in various fields of finance, industry, technologies, sciences, medicine, etc. to the Senate, and then, if you need to bolster the number of expert ministers, you can draw on Senators. Turn the Senate into a Chamber of Experts, or at least populate it with more experts, in the way that the House of Lords at least in part functions in the UK. But in the short term, Trudeau had to fill cabinet positions, he has a large caucus with a lot of women, so 50% of the cabinet being female was not difficult. Attacking him because ministers aren't appointed on merit seems a rather empty accusation, to my mind.
  9. Demographers take into account lifespan increases, but those increases come nowhere near bridging the gap. And we don't have immortality yet, so that's about as useful to demographic studies as faster-than-light travel is to space space research.
  10. In reality, it was in large part an accident of geography. Europe is essentially a mountain-ringed peninsula, and Western Europe was largely protected from the migrations and invasions from the Asian Steppe that did so much damage to Medieval Islamic civilization, China, India and Byzantium. The latter was critical because a lot of learned people fled to Italy as the Eastern Empire collapsed, and most historians feel there is at least some connection between the Renaissance and the collapse of that empire. But the damage done to Medieval Islam was incalculable; great centers of learning like Baghdad, with their libraries and scholars was so great that even the height of the Ottoman Empire (under the descendants of Turkic invaders) may have acquired a lot of territory but never really recovered the advantages that the high Muslim era had produced. Why all these contortions were going on, Western Europe was largely left alone. It had its crises to deal with, like the Black Plague, but in an ironic way, the plague was one of those once-in-a-millennium demographic makeovers that remade Europe. While the rest Eurasia, which had been, up to the late Medieval period, as advanced and in many ways much more advanced (believe me, you would rather have had a serious illness in medieval Madrid or Baghdad than Paris or London). But the fundamental tools of Western domination were all invented elsewhere (hence Diamond's "Guns" and "Steel" in "Guns, Germs and Steel"). Probably the single biggest factor in Europe's dominance wasn't Spanish, French or English weapons and ships, but that greatest of Renaissance innovations; the modern bank, invented in Italy. The creation of the first banking and capital markets was a revolution that allowed the infant European empires to fund colonization. I will give Europe that, but everything else; the gunpowder, the steel, the grain crops, the livestock, heck even the writing systems, were all invented outside of Europe. At any rate, I digress. The fact is that Europe got bloody lucky through a sheer accident of geography. The hoards of invaders coming out of the Asian Steppe did manage to smash the periphery; such as Russia under that Tatars, but Western Christendom was left free to build up more advanced economic systems, and it was the mercantilism that was transformed into early capitalism that was responsible for much of Europe's dominance. I won't deny that Islamic civilization partially collapsed; though in its defense, as I mention above, that collapse had a lot to do with external factors. Even Islamic Spain (the most advanced state in Western Europe at the time) largely failed because the degradation of the rest of Islamic civilization left it vulnerable to the Reconquista. And one only has to look at the delightful and enlightened replacement the rule of Ferdinand and Isabella was to Moorish Spain to see how far much of Europe had to go.
  11. As others have pointed out, it's not as if previous governments used merit to choose cabinet ministers. I can't see how Trudeau's intent to make his cabinet 50% women is any worse than the ways that previous Prime Ministers have chosen cabinet ministers, and other than a couple of potential misfires, I think Trudeau has a pretty strong cabinet. All in all it was a sharper group than Harper had at the end. Did anybody seriously thinking Joe Oliver was anything other than a proxy for the PMO?
  12. So there shouldn't be a problem with someone who was previously an advocate of some crap science theory then, right?
  13. Fertility rate of 2.1 to stabilize population; we only have a fertility rate of 1.6. That is an incontrovertible fact.
  14. Don't you think it's rather foolish to bet your "balanced" budget on international commodity prices? And doesn't that seem to suggest that opponents' to the Tories obsession with fossil fuel exports were right to state that the Federal Government had put far too much emphasis on oil?
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